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What Is the NCAA Evaluation Period?


what is the NCAA evaluation period

The NCAA Evaluation Period is a specific time of year when college coaches are allowed to watch an athlete compete in person or visit their school. However, coaches are not allowed to communicate with that athlete (or parents) off the college campus. Coaches can sit in the stands during a recruit’s practice or game, as well as visit the recruit’s school. This gives college coaches a chance to talk to the recruit’s coach, teachers or guidance counselor to get a better understanding of the student-athlete’s character. After the visit, the coach may call or email the recruit and let them know how their experience was at the school or game.

The NCAA Evaluation Period is just that: a time set aside for evaluation. While coaches can’t talk to athletes off the college campus, they can still call, email, text and direct message recruits. Evaluation periods are very specific, and not all sports have them. The only sports with these periods are DI football (FBS and FCS), DI Men’s/Women’s Basketball, DI Women’s Volleyball, DI Softball, DII Football and DII Men’s/Women’s Basketball.


What to expect during the NCAA Evaluation Period

The evaluation period is a time for coaches to evaluate athletes who they are seriously recruiting. By this point, the coach has been communicating with the recruit, has watched their highlight film and probably checked out their academic eligibility. The evaluation period is an opportunity to do two different things:

  • Watch the recruit compete in-person. Highlight films can only show so much of an athlete’s ability and character on the field. When evaluating the recruit in-person, coaches can see what goes on between the highlights. The coach will either attend a “made for recruiting” showcase/tournament or an athlete’s practice. They are evaluating the athlete’s attitude, body language, and how they interact with their teammates and coaches. In other words, they want to know who you are as an athlete.
  • Evaluate a recruit’s character. Coaches might drop in at a recruit’s school during the evaluation period. They will seek out a recruit’s guidance counselor, coach and perhaps other key members of the staff who interact with the recruit on a daily basis. Some coaches have been known to talk to the school janitor or team managers! The purpose? The coach wants to get a better sense of the athlete’s personality and character to ensure they would be a positive addition to the team.

Insider Tip: Be aware of the impression that you leave on the people you’re around every day, and always be prepared for a coach to drop in at your school.

Even though coaches can watch recruits compete during the evaluation period, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they will just show up to your game or school one day. Remember, coaches have a lot of recruits to evaluate, and they have to plan their time wisely. They are only able to visit recruits who they are seriously interested in. By the time the evaluation occurs, the coach already has a good idea of a recruit’s talent level. Instead, coaches want to see those intangibles like character, leadership, sportsmanship and coachability.

Insider Tip: While coaches typically use evaluation periods to visit high school juniors and sometimes seniors, that doesn’t mean freshmen and sophomores are off the hook. Coaches will notice any standout underclassmen who are on the team of the athlete they are evaluating. It’s not uncommon for a talented underclassman to receive questionnaires or general mail from coaches after an evaluation takes place at their school.


When is the NCAA Evaluation Period?

For all the DI sports not listed below, the NCAA has established a basic recruiting rule around evaluations. Coaches are able to evaluate each recruit seven times throughout the year. Those seven evaluations are a combination of two different types of in-person visits:

  • An evaluation in which the coach can talk to the recruit and their family
  • An evaluation in which the coach cannot talk to the recruit and their family

Of the seven in-person evaluations coaches can make per recruit, no more than three of them can be evaluations in which the coach is able to talk to the recruit and their family. Thankfully, it’s up to the coach to keep track of these in-person evaluations; however, it can only benefit you to know what the rules are.

Insider Tip: You should always be prepared for a coach to visit you. However, because each coach has a limited number of evaluations per athlete, they will probably schedule their visit with you rather than just showing up.


Division I Football FBS

  • September 1 through November 25, 2017
  • April 15 through May 31, 2018

Division I Football FCS

  • September 1 through November 25, 2017
  • Each school can take 168 total evaluation days during this time, excluding Sundays and Memorial Day. The institution has to put in writing which days are designated evaluation days.

Division I Men’s Basketball

  • April 20-22, 2018
  • April 27-29, 2018
  • July 11-15, 2018
  • July 18-22, 2018
  • July 25-29, 2018

Division I Women’s Basketball

  • September 23-24, 2017
  • September 30, 2017 through February 28, 2018

**This is a special evaluation event hosted in conjunction with the NCAA D1 Championship Tournament

  • April 20-22, 2018
  • Jul 6-12, 2018
  • Jul 23-29, 2018

Division I Women’s Volleyball

  • December 14-17, 201

Division II Football

  • During your regularly scheduled high school football season
  • Nov 1-30, 2017
  • April 15, 2018 through May 31, 2018

Division II Women’s Basketball

  • June 15 – August 1, 2017
  • During your regularly schedule high school basketball season
  • Any all-star game in the state of the school recruiting you
  • Up to four travel team tournaments per year

Division II Men’s Basketball

  • June 15 through August 1, 2017
  • During your regularly scheduled high school basketball season
  • Any all-star game in the state of the school recruiting you
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